Off to Poland

I’ll be traveling (or rather chilling with my surrogate parents, Hili, and cherry pie) for about two weeks starting tomorrow. During that time, please try to keep emails to a minimum. As always, readers’ wildlife is welcome, as well as factual or grammatical corrections of what I write. (Yes, I’ll be trying to keep up with the website.) But please collate your items to send, trying to send no more than one email every three or four days. Grania has promised to do the Hili dialogue on Sunday morning, when I’ll be traveling, so our record of daily Hilis will remain unbroken.

As for speaking, I’m giving a talk on science versus religion (a touchy subject in that Catholic country) in Gdansk (Danzig) on Tuesday, September 12:

Time: 6 pm
Location:   Klub Atelier in Sopot (yes, a club, but I’m promised “no disco balls”). I gather Sopot is a smaller town adjacent to Gdansk.

I am Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus), and I approve of this message.


  1. Liz
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    A good friend of mine is getting married in Wisconsin on the 16th. Flying in and out of Chicago on the 15th and 18th. Exciting but brief trip for me.

  2. Posted September 1, 2017 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    I heard that any child born in Poland is automatically legally stampted “Roman Catholic”, regardless of parents, and that you have to take action to change it, and it is not trivial to do so.

    In other words, is Catholicism the official legal state religion of Poland?

    I am wondering if this is true, and/or if you could confirm/refute it while there?

    • Brygida Berse
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      It is not exactly true, but the Roman Catholic Church is very strong, and even non-religious people give in to the social pressure for having a church wedding and baptizing children. Once that happens, the baptized person remains “on the books” for life. Even those who as adults undertake a long and convoluted path of formal apostasy are disappointed to find out that it does not remove them from the list. That helps the Church claim a much larger number of adherents than that of regular churchgoers.

      • Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

        That is shocking.

        Brygida, do you know … is early (pre-20 week) abortion legal in Poland?

        • Brygida Berse
          Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:10 pm | Permalink

          Abortion is only permitted in cases of rape or incest, when the fetus is seriously deformed, or when carrying it to term puts the mother’s health or life in substantial danger. There are various time limits for these contingencies. The rights of women under this restrictive law are further limited by pressures from the clergy and part of the medical profession. Doctors are free to refuse to perform any abortions, and many clinics create hurdles that are difficult to overcome, even when the woman theoretically has the right to terminate pregnancy.

          As it’s the case everywhere, these kinds of restrictions and pressures impact mostly poor, uneducated women. Those well off and well informed travel abroad. Right across the border in Slovakia, there are clinics, some quite luxurious, where abortions up to 12 weeks are performed no questions asked, at the cost of several hundred euros. Polish women constitute a significant proportion of the patients, and often the price includes comfortable transportation between the place of residence and the clinic.

  3. Randy schenck
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Could not have been better if they had Hili laying on a cherry pie.

  4. BJ
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    It’s nice that Honey came back to say goodbye. Perhaps absence will make her hear grow fonder.

    Enjoy your trip!

  5. dabertini
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    Bon voyagee, PCC(E)!

  6. claudia baker
    Posted September 1, 2017 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    Safe and happy travels! Jealous!

  7. Posted September 1, 2017 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

    Is it that time of the year again? An older image from last year…

    • Brygida Berse
      Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:17 pm | Permalink


    • Posted September 2, 2017 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      Oy vey–am I to get groped again? Stay tuned.

      Nice meme!

  8. Posted September 1, 2017 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Bon Voyage, o ye lover of ducks. May your travels through Customs be gooseless.

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